Remember when it felt like you were in "paradise" with your partner? When every touch was heaven; every word, like a whisper of affirmation? The soft breezes of love wafted over you like a tropical sunrise and everything was 'right' with the world. Oh yes, it is such a lovely phase of relationship; a phase we'd all like to capture in a bottle and return to frequently, right? However, for many of us, we drift away from this level of bliss and rapture, never to return. But, that doesn't have to be your destiny.
There are couples that stay perpetually, madly and passionately "in-love." For example, my friends Doug and Sally, when they are together, they still act like newlyweds, so happy and into each other, even though they've been married for 20 years. She tells me that the sex is through the roof, they laugh together and talk about everything, and are actually more excited and head-over-heels in love now than ever before. Really, it can almost give you a cavity.
And it's not that life has always been easy for them. Quite the opposite in fact.
Pleasurable, happy, harmonious "I'm so into you and us" love can happen, even after 20+ years of marriage. It's not a mirage, just a way of being with each other. It's a practice of loving actions, that when reciprocated, can keep you in paradise, even as the storms blow through.
To stay connected and "in the flow," here are a few things you can 'pack' in your bag of tricks to help you remain in (or return to) a safe haven of love, fend off erosion from the grind of life and invigorate your relationship to an all time strong, sexy and secure status.
1. KEEP CHOOSING LOVE
Yes, life is full of work, children, bills and worries, obligations, Face-booking, and thousands of other things that cut into your "love-week"! But to feel IN love, you've got to make LOVE a priority.
Giving each other a daily multivitamin of the 3A's: Attention, Appreciation and Affection builds a happy, fluent love connection that says "You are important to me and our relationship is valuable." Too many couples stay locked in a slump because they over focus their attention on fixing what's wrong instead of being grateful and celebrating what IS GOOD!
Ok, so he gets easily impatient shopping with you and wants to leave. So what if she spends a 1/2 hour explaining every detail that takes you two minutes to understand. The reality is, there are going to be things you don't really like or wished were different in your partner. A healthy relationship has more to do with accepting those differences and maybe even learning to appreciate (or love) them.
Do This for 30 days and Watch How Shifting Your Focus to the 3A's Adds Up to Big Love:
- Give more compliments.
2. ROMANCE IS GOOD "SHOW"-MANCE IS BETTER!
Again, there is no magic on the island, simply the constant vigilance of lovers. By setting aside that special time, with no interruptions, just you two, you show your partner, time and time again, "It's you I want... and you are worth my time."
If it's date night, make the effort to get dressed up, [or undressed, depending], flirt and remind your partner what you love about them and your connection. Maybe, even try something kooky, or kinky? Or new? Couples who share new experiences report feeling more loving and satisfied. This is a time to be free from all things mundane or relating to daily life and have fun.
3. COMMUNICATE AND CONNECT
The truth is we spend far more time communicating with each other than we do having sex. Everything we do and say, as well as, what we don't do nor say, transmits information, interest and our level of care.
Few experiences are more gratifying than expressing yourself and having it heard, received and understood by your partner. Most of us grew up without enough of this focused attention. Giving this to each other is one of the kindest, most loving things you can do for and with your partner.
But what if we don't agree with each other?
When you hold an attitude of cooperation vs. competition, 'we're in this together' 'we're a team' your tone automatically becomes kinder, gentler, and calmer.
When you hit a bump, instead of defending or lashing out, say...
"We're on the same team even if we don't see eye to eye right now."
"I love you."
"I want to understand how you feel."
Choosing to embrace and remain respectful rather than reject and eject can make the storms clear out a lot faster. Remember kindness is always king!
4. MORE SEX = MORE JOY
Stay physical and schedule it in! Being spontaneous sounds great in theory, but once "real life" kicks in after the courtship phase, leaving sex to spontaneity is a recipe for disaster. Smart couples make plans to have sex. Yes! They make it a priority.
Biologically, the oxytocin that is released during sex is essential to long-term bonding and that 'in-love' euphoria. And talk about a great stress-reliever! When your sexual connection is fun and frequent your relationship will flourish!
5. HONOR TIME SPENT APART
Not every person can be ALL things to you. You still need time alone to nourish your hobbies and passions. Pursuing your own interests makes life a lot less stressful and you a lot more interesting. Time spent alone or with close friends, doing something you love to do, can recharge your batteries and bring you back home refreshed and with a full tank to share.
Make Love-Boosting Activities a Habit
Like all things in life, the more you take action in one area of your life, the better results you receive. This is one of those areas where you can reap mega rewards if you make the commitment. When you take the risk emotionally, and go deep, there will be many riches waiting for you on the other side. Can you picture it now; you and your partner on that island of paradise? It's only a whisper- or maybe a note in a bottle- away!
Sheri Meyers, Psy.D is a licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Los Angeles, CA, TV Relationship commentator and author of Chatting or Cheating: How to Detect Infidelity, Rebuild Love, and Affair-Proof Your Relationship. For a free chapter of Chatting or Cheating, please go to: chattingorcheating.com